Trolling for Fish Sauce

There are hordes of fish sauces on Asian on market shelves with poor English labeling. Here’s how to find the best.

Cheaper fish sauces often are laden with sugar or added MSG to compensate for the fact that they’re made from the fifth or sixth pressing of fish, and devoid of natural flavor, warns Das Ubergeek. Look for sauces labeled “first pressing.” Seek out naturally fermented fish sauces. Check the labels for red flags: additives like hydrolyzed wheat protein and fructose, both of which are nasty shortcuts through the fermentation process.

Hounds have been happy with both Golden Boy and Tiparos brands (recommended by many cooking professionals) from Thailand. Squid brand fish sauce is great for enriching pasta, pan gravy, even salad dressings if there’s going to be a sweetener in it, says Das Ubergeek.

To keep the smell of fish sauce from permeating your fridge, use some foil to cap off the top; the plastic tops of fish sauce bottles are often shoddily made and won’t keep the its strong odor contained.

Here is a review of many brands of fish sauce.

This piece helps decode labels of Vietnamese brands of fish sauce, and describes the differences between Vietnamese, Thai, and Phillipine styles.

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